In April, 2010 Google announced the inclusion of page speed as a ranking signal in their search algorithms. Since then it has become very important for webmasters to take care of their website’s speed. It is also important to look after the speed of a web page from a user’s perspective as visitors tend to abandon those websites which takes more than three seconds to load.
Google has been trying hard to provide better search results and so it is aiming to show those websites above the fold in SERP whose page load time is less. In other words, Google compares website’s page speed results and give priority to the one which is fast. However, page speed is not a sole factor that Google would use to rank a website. It is just one of the 200 ranking factors that affect a website’s search rankings.
How to Measure a Webpage’s Speed
There are many tools that you can use to measure the speed of a webpage. However, not every tool is effective or provide accurate results, but a few of them are outstanding like GTmetrix, Pingdom and Google Page Speed Insight.
But Page speed insight is the best option to use because it’s a Google product and uses similar page speed analysis feature to rank a website. With this tool you can see your website’s speed score out of 100 for both mobile and desktop.
But not every webpage is fully optimized to get a good score on this tool, there are times when you find WebPages that has got a low score bec
ause they didn’t optimize their website according to Google’s page speed guidelines. For example this one:
You can clearly see that the speed score of Word Stream is very low and several issues are causing this website a big time harm.
How to improve webpage speed
If your WebPages have a good page speed score, then you don’t need to be worried, but what if your WebPages has a low score. In that case, you need to take some actions that can improve the load time of your page. Here is a list of all those actions:
- Enabled Gzip compression
Gzip compression method compresses the size of a webpage that is sent to the browser by the server. Later, the browser un-compress the file and show the webpage to the user. This makes the transmission of information between server & browser so fast and reduces the load time of a page. You can use GID Zip Test tool to find out how much the page has been compressed.
- Minify CSS& HTML
When you buy a website theme, it comes with several types of CSS configurations that might not be needed to fulfill your purpose with your website. In that case you need to either remove those CSS files or you need to compress it.
Besides, you have to also enable the HTML compression that makes a webpage less heavy and helps it load quickly. You can easily do it by Will Peavy’s CSS& HTML minify tool. Also, you should remove the needless whitespace, unnecessary comments from the file.
- Minify Java script
- Avoid redirects
Suppose you visit your friend’s house and finds out that he has moved to a different location, now you have to reach to his new house, that is indeed time consuming. Similarly, when you redirect a web URL to a new location, a web browser has to go to the new URL and wait for the HTTP request for the returning instructions, this process increases the page load time. Thus, it is recommended to avoid redirections as much as possible.
- Leverage browser caching
Browser caching easily cache a file and download content on local server. Then, browser doesn’t have to ask server to deliver the content again and again. It requires setting up relevant Expires header & Last-Modified date in .htaccess file. You can do it by simply adding this code at the beginning of .htaccess file.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
- Reduce server response time
High server response time slow down the speed of a webpage, thus it needs to be reduced. You can do it either by using more efficient hosting service or using Keep Alive method that opens only one TCP connection for one HTTP conversation instead of opening a new connection for every request.
However, the “keep alive” option is already enabled in most of the hosting services but in case if it is not enabled, then you can do it by simply adding this code into your .htaccess file.
<ifModulemod_headers.c> Header set Connection keep-alive
- Optimize Images
You have to make sure that images on WebPages are optimized for web. When you use any image editing program you should save the images for the web, this process saves the image in a low size. If you have a WordPress website then you can use Smush.it plugin that can automatically optimize the images and help to improve the performance of a webpage.
Since page speed is a ranking signal to Google, it is must that you understand the value of it. You need to take all above actions to make your webpage faster. Remember, every second is precious when it comes to visiting a website. So take benefit of these tips and make your website amazingly fast like a rocket.